Thoughts on BDS

After I graduated from college, I realised pretty quickly that I had to start looking for a job. And, with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Hebrew, I knew that might be more difficult for me than most.

The first place I looked was in the world of Hasbara. Readers of my previous post will know that I have many misgivings with how the world of Hasbara operates. And one area in which it’s really, really, going wrong is in regards to combatting BDS.

It would literally be better if they did nothing at all.

Yes, nothing at all.

From where I’m sitting (the desk in my bedroom, nursing a Mocha) the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is so much of a non-issue that I can’t believe the virtual column inches it gets here on the Times of Israel. I see no boycott. I see a small number of people (read: agitators on the extreme left) who have never liked Israel, have never bought products from Israel, and are now calling this a ‘movement’.

Trade between the UK and Israel has gone up, not down, in the past few years. My local supermarkets are still stocking Israeli produce, as they always have done. Every flight I’ve ever been on to Israel has been full, or almost full, and not just with Jews. The budget airline Easyjet has increased its’ flights to Israel, and the BBC has just purchased ‘Hostages’, starring Ayelet Zurer and Yonah Lotan.

What conclusions can we draw from this? Israel is actually having a bit of a moment, culturally; only countries can place trade sanctions on other countries; the British middle class realize that the situation in the West Bank is more nuanced than either ‘side’ would have you believe; more important issues (the exodus of Christians from Arab countries, the anti-LGBT legislation in Russia) are being ignored; and most importantly,that the BDS movement (that was never really a proper movement) has failed.

Obviously, the boycott movement shows its face in many places: business, supermarket shopping, Scarlett Johannson, Stephen Hawking, and whichever artist is currently being threatened for playing in Israel. There is also obviously more I could write about this topic. But my plea to you, as Zionists, is this: do nothing, for now. This simply isn’t worth your time.

About the Author
Imogen is a twentysomething Brit with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Hebrew. She speaks Hebrew almost-fluently, and lived and studied in Jerusalem for a year. By day, she does office work, but by night, she dreams of being back in Israel again. She likes fashion magazines, peanut butter sandwiches, and jumping in puddles.